Join us at the ConnectUP! Summit 2023 April 14-15! 

ConnectUP! Summit 2023

ConnectUP! Summit 2023

What is the Summit?

We know that BIPOC, women, LGBTQ+, and rural founders face unique challenges in accessing funding, resources, and formal support systems. And those are vital to grounding and growing a business.

Our response? Bridging the 180-degrees of separation between entrepreneurs from underestimated communities and local investors. We offer culturally responsive, action-driven workshops, deep-relationship building and cross-pollination of networks.  Be a part of a dynamic group of attendees in a BIPOC-, women-, LGBTQ+- and rural-centered environment at the 2023 ConnectUP! Summit!


Tell us who you are! Fill out a 3-Minute Profile to start the registration process.

Make impactful connections with diverse entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem support organizations at the 2023 ConnectUP! Summit!

For Entrepreneurs

  • Access tools, resources & networks to fast-track your growth and effectiveness
  • Understand, navigate, and negotiate terms across the capital landscape to “secure the bag”
  • Build relationships with local and regional sources of capital
  • Free Lawyers to answer legal questions
  • CPAs will be present to answer your accounting questions
  • 20-minute Clinics around building up your business capacity
Participation Requirements:
  • In business for 2-8 years
  • Have a capital demand under $100K
  • Have a revenue-generating business model
  • Cooperatives, micro-businesses, side-hustles, entrepreneurs, and hybrid non-profits are encouraged to apply! 
ConnectUP! attendees pose for a photo

For Investors

(Accelerators, incubators, nonprofits, government, banks, CDFIs, entrepreneur service providers, CDCs, etc.)
  • Access a curated group of investment ready, and near-ready local underestimated entrepreneurs
  • Engage in best practices to align your values and investments
  • Understand correlations between social return on investment, impact and financial returns
  • Learn to invest in horses over unicorns, capitalizing projects in underestimated markets & alternative deal structures

For Entrepreneur Community and Ecosystem

(angels, venture, philanthropy, trustees, family offices, investment officers, etc.)
  • Learn about high impact collaborations in Minnesota and across the US
  • Experience how to efficiently and effectively leverage cross-sector partnerships for exponential impact
  • Building an equitable entrepreneur ecosystem to fill the disparities in Minnesota
ConnectUP! Panel Discussion

The Return-on-Investment (ROI) of inclusive entrepreneur ecosystem building

0 %

who attended the Summit reported that they formed new connections with an investor through their participation.

0 %

viewed the connections made at our Summit as “valuable” to their business or growth as an entrepreneur.

money making
0 %

reported securing new business and/or forming business partnerships as a result of their participation.

When the starting point for many of these entrepreneurs is not having access to investors, networks, and resources, these data points demonstrate the Return-on-Investment (ROI) of inclusive entrepreneur ecosystem building when efforts to bridge gaps in the ecosystem are equitable, well-connected and well-resourced.

Our Past Three Summits Have Sold Out, See Why!

Ready to Connect Up? Get Started!

Attend the Summit

We’re so excited to have you as part of our community!

Due to limited space, all participants must submit a request to attend ConnectUP! MN by completing an 3-Minute Profile below. Our intentions are not to be exclusive, but to be intentional about curating a rich, meaningful, relevant group of attendees to drive thought-provoking conversations and actions, and co-designing a more equitable, inclusive, thriving, and sustainable enterprise ecosystem.

We want to ensure that you entrepreneurs have a great experience. Still, we also want to ensure that you are READY for the level of conversations that will happen at ConnectUP! Join us at Wilder Foundation in the Twin Cities to connect with underrepresented entrepreneurs, local investors, and Minnesota’s dynamic entrepreneur community!

Sponsor the Summit

After a two-year hiatus, ConnectUP! Summit is back! The Summit provides action-based content and curates an inclusive group of diverse entrepreneurs, investors and intermediaries to close the 180-degrees of separation between investors, the entrepreneur ecosystem and underestimated founders.

Our ConnectUP! Summit program sells out every year. Attendees reported an average increase in their revenue by 30%, and 50% reported an increase in confidence in managing their business.

Your support helps us provide attendees with the resources, connections and access they need to level up their business operations and success! Check out our ConnectUP! Summit sponsorship levels below and reach out to to get started!

Frequently Asked Questions

ConnectUP! Institute’s number one priority is the health and safety of our Summit participants and Industry partners. Our goal is to hold a safe summit, recognizing it is not possible to remove all risk, in particular concerning COVID-19.

The ConnectUP! Summit venue, Wilder Foundation, may change, update, or add requirements at any time as it deems prudent to best protect the health and safety of attendees and others, and attendees must comply with relevant policies and requirements as communicated by ConnectUP! Institute.

Yes, if you have the ability and are willing, our strong recommendation is that all attendees, regardless of vaccination status, test for covid-19 before attending connect up Summit, based on the results, follow the current CDC guidelines accordingly.

Masks are not required indoors in the city of St Paul per local guidance. Our strong recommendation is that if you have known prior positive covid test results or known exposure, then please follow current CDC Mask recommendations accordingly.

Absolutely! Most of the conversations are related to back-office part of the business (operations, production, marketing, management, financials, etc.) that are necessary to grow and scale your business. You will be learning from leading industry experts teaching a range of subjects suitable for many stages of your business and you’ll undoubtedly walk away from every action-oriented discussion with good information.

Absolutely! The Summit is open to everyone. The most important thing to know is that all the work we do is through an economic justice lens. You will be learning from leading industry experts teaching a range of subjects suitable for many stages of your business and you’ll undoubtedly walk away from every action-oriented discussion with good information.

We ALWAYS SELL OUT!! This year we plan to sell 200 tickets, so bring enough so you don’t run out!

Dressy casual, fashion-forward, ROCK your brand, whatever you want to call it. Whatever is your definition of you looking good, then wear that because the cameras and video will be rolling. Just keep in mind it will be a long day, so comfort is also important.

It’s recommended that you attend both days, since there’s so much knowledge to soak up, connecting and mingling to do. But it’s not mandatory. You’ll get out of it what you put into it. However, there are no refunds or partial payments accepted if you only attend parts of the conference. Speakers may attend for only their session with no registration fee.

Please send an email to with the subject line ‘Volunteer ConnectUP! Summit’ and tell us a little about yourself, what you’re interested in and how you would like to participate. Volunteers are expected to work 4-6 hours and will receive a significant discount on the registration fee. We are currently accepting names to put on the waitlist. The waitlist is how we recruit for volunteers. Students are encouraged to exercise!

The price of the ticket does not include accommodations, but it does include three-days of programming and includes breakfast, lunch and light refreshments in the afternoon. We will be sharing a link to a local hotel as soon as we book the block of rooms.

Yes! But why just come for Alumni night? Join us for the full conference.

Full refunds are available up until February 15, 2023, less a 25% administration fee. After this time, we can provide 50% refunds on tickets up until 30 days prior to the event (March 15, 2023), after which time tickets are transferable upon request, but are non-refundable regardless of when the ticket was purchased. You will need to notify the ConnectUP team via email (ONLY) to indicate the new ticket holder’s information. That information can be mailed to

Yes, a limited number of partial scholarships are available. Partial scholarships are available for social entrepreneurs, founders, and nonprofit leaders on an as-needed basis. We ask that you please be mindful as you consider applying for a scholarship, and only apply if you truly need financial assistance. We will begin accepting scholarship applications Monday, February 6, 2023 and the link to apply will be posted here.

We recommend flying into: Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport (MSP). MSP Airport is less than 20 minutes from the event venue, MSP offers direct flights from Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, Denver, and Las Vegas, with flight times ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 hours.

Send an email to with subject line “Speak at 2023 ConnectUP” along with press/speaker kit and/or link to your website and what you would like to present.

We are always on the lookout for incredible speakers for our events and would love to hear from you as to why you think our community would value having you on stage at this event. That said, please know that we get hundreds of applications to speak at this event and cannot accommodate all speakers. To nominate yourself or another dynamic subject matter expert, please fill out our speaker application form here with a proposed topic that you or the nominee is on fire to speak about, and we will be sure to take it into consideration.